10/19/2012 11:33 am ET Updated Dec 19, 2012

Divorce After 50: Why Split After All Those Years? (VIDEO)

The news that Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman were getting divorced after decades of marriage came as a surprise to many people, and forced them to wonder why a growing number of post-50 couples are deciding not to stay with each other into their sunset years.

HuffPost Live host Janet Varney hosted a discussion of this phenomenon recently with a panel of guests, including Lola Barnett who said she and her ex-husband seemed like "the perfect couple" to outsiders, but that ultimately "no one knows what's going on with [another couple's] relationship."

Barnett blamed drugs for their eventual split.

"We were both into recreational drugs on a regular basis, and it led to a lot of bad decisions on our part, which ultimately broke down the honor and the trust and respect we had for each other," she told Varney. "My belief is when you don't have a strong foundation, then everything else just falls apart. And it really did."

On the bright side, Barnett says her life has "blossomed" since getting divorced, in part because she married and had a child so young (at 17) that she never really got to know herself as an adult.

"It took a couple years just for me to get to know myself," she said. "Over the last two years, I think I've even blossomed more. Becoming more comfortable in my skin. Becoming the strong, confident, powerful woman I am. And I love it. I truly love it."